Solon ready to face sanctions but won’t risk safety in returning back now
Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. is not likely to return to the country today as he would rather face administrative sanctions by the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges over his continued absence instead of facing what he claimed to be grave security threats to his life, his legal counsel said.
House Speaker Martin Romualdez earlier gave Teves until March 20 to surface after denying his request for a two-month leave of absence.
Justice Secretary Jesus Remulla said based on the reports received by the DOJ, Teves is no longer in the United States and is currently “in Southeast Asia.”
“I doubt he would appear. I doubt it very much,” Teves’ legal counsel Ferdinand Topacio told Teleradyo in an interview.
Teves has been charged for three murders in the province in 2019 and is also being linked to the killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.
DOJ spokesman Mico Clavano said Teves is “one of the suspected masterminds” in the assassination of Degamo.
“I will always advise that he should face the charges if there are charges already. In view of all the reckless accusations making it appear that he is guilty when the probe will only start next week… He’s not hiding from the law because he is not yet being hunted by the law,” Topacio added.
Degamo’s widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, on Sunday appealed to Congress to have Teves dismissed as a member of the House of Representatives.
“I have already signed a petition to expel him from Congress,” she said. “I hope Congress will support our request that he be expelled.”
Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa, for his part, said he will conduct a hearing on the brazen murder of Degamo once the DOJ files charges against the mastermind.
“We will ask for updates from the DOJ if they have already filed cases against the mastermind. Then we can conduct a hearing Wednesday before Congress goes on (Lenten) break,” said Dela Rosa, chairperson of the committee on public order and illegal drugs.
He said they can hold hearings even after Congress adjourns if issues are urgent.
Over the weekend, the DOJ said it is looking at placing the suspects in the killing of Degamo, including Teves, under Interpol lookout.
Clavano said there are still five suspects at large and 12 John Does in the case.
“We have taken concrete steps to come up with an international lookout bulletin. We are also discussing putting them under Interpol’s Blue Notice,” Clavano said.
A Blue Notice under Interpol allows Philippine authorities to place the suspects under monitoring and collect information on their whereabouts and activities when they travel abroad.